Breed Standard

Naturally active and alert, the Labrador Retriever belongs to the AKC Sporting Group. Sporting dogs make friendly, well-rounded companions. But if you want your Labrador Retriever to participate in conformation shows, it must match the AKC breed standard. So, just what is the AKC breed standard for Labrador Retrievers, anyway?

The AKC standard specifies that a Lab has to be clean-cut with a strong and athletic look. Labs are medium-sized dog with warm, friendly eyes and a well-balanced body. They need to look hardy enough to hunt for long hours under difficult conditions, yet have the personality of a family pet.

Of course, the standard does much more than offer a big-picture description of what a Lab should look like. The breed standard places far more emphasis on exactly how specific parts of the Lab’s body should appear.

Size: Labs should be relatively short from shoulder to hip, but not so short that it interferes with their able to run and walk easily.

Male Labrador Retrievers should be 22-1/2 to 24-1/2 inches at the withers and weigh between 65 and 80 pounds.

Females should be 21-1/2 to 23-1/2 inches at the withers and weigh 55-70 pounds.

Head: A Lab’s skull should be wide but balanced. The top should be parallel to the muzzle and both parts roughly the same length.

The head should also be clean-cut with strong jaws.

The ears should hang next to the head, relatively far back and low. When pulled forward they should reach the inside of the eye.

The nose should be wide and black on black and yellow Labs or brown on chocolate Labs.

The eyes should be alert and intelligent. Eyes should be brown with black rims on black and yellow Labs and brown or hazel with brown rims on chocolate Labs.

The teeth should be strong and have an even bite, with the bottom teeth just behind the top teeth with the mouth is closed.

Neck: The neck should be strong without loose skin and long enough to make retrieving easy.

Body: The topline should be straight and level between the shoulder blade and the hips, and the body should have a nicely tapered rib cage (not too flat or too barrel-chested).

Tail: The Lab tail should be an otter tail that is very thick at the base and then tapers off. The Lab should continue the flow of a line from the top of the head to the tail tip.

Forequarters: The forequarters should be muscular and balanced with the hindquarters so that shoulders and hips are in proportion, as are front and back legs.

Additionally, Front legs should be straight, and when viewed from the side, the dog’s elbows should be directly beneath the top point of the shoulder blade.

Feet should be strong and compact with arched toes and well-developed paws.

Hindquarters:The hindquarters should be muscular and balanced with the forequarters.


Rear legs should have strong bones and defined thighs with steady knees. Viewed from the side, they should mirror the angle of the front legs.

Feet should be strong and compact, with arched toes and well-developed pads.

The rear toes should stand just behind the top of the rump when standing still.

Coat: Labs should have a double coat with a thick, dense, hard, weather-resistant top layer and a soft, downy undercoat for insulation.

Color: Labs come in three colors: black, yellow (from fox red to light cream), and chocolate (light to dark).

APPEARANCE DEFECTS The standard also discusses how judges should rate the less-than-perfect Labrador Retriever. If your dog has any of the following characteristics, he will be disqualified from show competition:

Shorter or taller than the height described in the standard (the margin is 1/2 inch)

A pink nose or one lacking in color

Eye rims that don’t have any pigment

A docked or altered tail

Any other color or a combination of colors other than black, yellow or chocolate. Few, if any, Labrador Retrievers meet all the standard’s criteria for perfection. Some deficiencies are no big deal in the show ring, while others are considered so serious that the dog can’t be shown. Still, disqualification from the conformation show ring certainly doesn’t mean that the affected Labrador Retriever won’t be a wonderful, healthy pet or participant in other dog activities and competitions, such as agility. From:[http://www.dummies.com/pets/dogs/labrador-retrievers-the-akc-breed-standard/]
This is a popular question. Most people would say between 10 and 12 years. Some however live much longer than 12, and some less than 10.

Factors affecting Life Span

There are several factors affecting the Labradors life span. Labrador genes, the genes passed down from the dogs parents. Genes control what your dog looks like but also the dog can inherit common ailments. Like all pedigree dogs, certain genetic diseases become established within the breed due to breeding between dogs that are closely related.

Other factors include events that take place during the dogs lifespan such as accidents, or disease.

Body shape

Body shape and size can affect the life span, however Labradors are lucky in that they inherit a sound body conformation or body shape. In general, little dogs live longer than larger dogs, we don't really understand why.

Inherited Diseases can Affect Life Span.

While Labrador Retrievers are realatively healthy, there are some diseases inherited in the breed that can influence life span. For example, Hip Displasia, Which should be tested for, and we do, on adult dogs before they breed. As far as cancer is concerned, we do not have tests for. Eyes and elbows are also tested.

Black, Yellow, or Chocolate

You might ask if there is a difference in life span between Yellow Labs, Black or Chocolate Labs. There are no difference in life span between colors.

Things you can do to increase a dogs life Span

Every year many dogs die from accidents because their owners were not paying attention or letting their dogs roam. Keep control of your dog by ensuring proper training. Follow your Vetranarians recommendations for Vaccinations. Depending upon where you live, some areas are more likely to be problematic for some diseases, so keep current with vaccinations.

Another factor that can influence your dogs live span is body weight. Studies have shown that dogs who are over weight do not live as long and are prone to a early onset of arthritis. Keep your dog thin and don't over feed himl.

Is Longevity Inherited?

To a certain extent, longevity is inherited but that's not the whole story. Keeping your dog healthy, thin, and given lots of exercise and love will go a long way.

Choosing a Puppy

If you are choosing a puppy, choose his parents carefully. Make sure they have been health tested and purchase from a good breeder like Breton Gate Labrador Retrievers.


Labradors are family oriented dogs and will want to be where your family is. They are also hunting/retriever dogs and are quite comfortable in a cold wet environment when working.

The Labrador retriever has a short, dense, water-repellent double coat that provides great resistance to cold weather, icy water and different kinds of ground cover. Their double coating helps them tolerate cold temperatures keeping them fairly comfortable in the cold weather. Taking him out for short periods of time in extreme temperatures to walk, play and relieve himself are not a problem. Remember, this is a breed that hunters have outdoors for hours on end and in ice cold waters.


The Labrador can live outdoors full time however all dogs need adequate shelter from the elements such as an insulated dog house. It should include a heavy insulated wind flap and a nonporous bedding inside.

The Labrador is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States.

The dogs that formed the foundation of the Labrador breed in England in the 1800s, were imported not from Labrador but from Newfoundland.

American Labrador enthusiast and trainer Richard Wolters wrote a detailed history of The Labrador Retriever in 1981. Walters noted that there was no native dogs on the Island and that the early settlers, who were fisherman, brought there dogs with them from England. Wolters believes the fishermans smaller dogs are the forebears of the Labrador.

Eventually, these dogs were bred by the fisherman, which were dependent on these dogs. They eventually became the ST. John's Water dog. Wolters believes the St John’s dog or St John’s water dog was the ancestor of the modern Labrador Retriever.
  Descrption    Standard Colors  Registration Code
Black    007
Chocolate   071
Yellow    232
A dog can provide companionship and love. They give back way more than they take. Some studies show that owning a dog can help keep you healthy, happy, and lose weight. Dogs need to take walks every day and they will help you stay in shape. A dog will keep your mind engaged, and can teach you to relax. Giving a nice belly rub will relax both you and your dog. Dogs live in the moment, something we can all learn. Don't confuse this with a dog not feeling. Dogs do feel and have memories. Dogs can be fun and provide unwavering dedication and love.
"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too." ~~[http://www.quotes.thinkexist.com/quotes/samuel_butler/]

A dog is loyal, protective, and always happy to see you. We are more social with a dog.
You should fee your puppy three times a day.
A Labrador Retriever is a great match for a family and the most popular dog registered with the American Kennel Club. In making the decision if the Labrador Retriever is the right dog for you and your family, consider the following:

Do you have the Energy?

The Labrador Retriever is a very energetic dog and needs to have routine exercise outdoors regardless of the weather.


Labs often like to cuddle and make contact with their owners. They will climb up on your lap, couch or bed if you let them. If they have to stay on the floor, they are often at your feet.

Do you need a Guard Dog?

Even though the Labrador is a large dog, they are too friendly to be a good guard dog.

The Labrador Retrievers hair is a double coat that can shed moderately heavily.

Do you have the Space?

Do you have the Money?

Getting a puppy is a big decision and should be one made by the whole family. When you bring a dog home, you are making a commitment to that dog for life. You need to consider there less desirable traits, like possible snoring, drooling, farting, belching,chewing, and yes pooping. Dogs need to be walked every day. Having a fenced back yard is a plus. Dogs are optimists and have a can dig attitude. They can also make gardening a challenge by removing plants they don't like.

Dogs don't take personal hygiene seriously. They like to smell bad. You will need to groom them from time to time. Most dogs, especially Labrador's, shed, shed, shed. Their hair comes off and goes all over the house.
Dogs think the world is there toilet, they will need to be potty trained.
There are good reason to get a dog. See our FAQ about good reasons for dog ownership.